Optimizing Facebook Ad Demographics for Clinical Research Sites

Last month, the Clinical Conductor Webinar series was hosted by Hannah Kepros and Matt Waller of PatientWise to discuss how sites can use Facebook to optimize their clinical trials. Utilizing Facebook to recruit for clinical trials is a great way for sites to quickly and easily find potential participants. Hannah and Matt started off their webinar by giving the listeners a quick guide to Facebook ad basics. There are two different types of Facebook ads: right column and news feed ads. A right column ad does not require a linked Facebook page, and is a less expensive option. It does not allow comments, and has a disadvantage in that it typically has a lower engagement rate. A Newsfeed ad requires a linked Facebook page, typically the Facebook site of the clinical research organization or site. The biggest advantage to Newsfeed ads is that they have a highe

r engagement rate with native advertising. However, they are more expensive than a right column ad. Hannah and Matt did note that your organization should continue to post on the business Facebook page consistently in order to keep up with branding, while making the page both a resource and a credible source.

Next, Hannah walked webinar attendees through where the Ad Manager is on the Facebook page, which is under the Explore section on the left hand side of the desktop application. The Ad Manager portal is where sites can plan campaigns, view metrics, and traffic. After a site finalizes those aspects of your Facebook ad, they can select an audience. Facebook allows clinical research sites to really hone in on the demographics that they want the ad to reach. As with any other recruitment material, research sites want to make sure that they are broadcasting to an audience that is consistent to the qualification criteria for each study.

The first demographic to use for targeting an ad is location; this should be the site location and plan a radius for around the research site. Hannah and Matt recommend using 30-40 miles as your broadcast radius. Limiting an ad radius to a reasonable driving distance (30-40 miles) around the site is an effective tool for reaching a relevant audience, and maximizing ROI. Targeting an age range for the ad comes next; research sites want to keep this range consistent with the qualifying criteria for your study. If a site has seen particular successes with a different age range, ie, 25 – 40 year old’s are more likely to participate in a study than 18-25 year old’s, feel free to narrow down the age range you broadcast to. This change can help you get a larger ROI when using Facebook. Gender also needs to stay consistent with the qualifying criteria for your study as well.

Finally, the most detailed selection when picking an audience is interests and behaviors. These can be extremely effective at targeting in on a specific group of people. If a Facebook user self-identifies as being interested in topics like “Medicine” “Clinical Research” “Cancer Support Group” etc., they can be sorted through and selected for the site ad’s audience. For example, if a clinical research site was running an Cancer Study, they could target an ad to Facebook users interested in “Cancer Research” “Investigational Medicine” etc. This is a great tool for making sure advertisements are reaching the most relevant audience and for maximizing ROI. On the right side of Ad Manager, there is an “audience definition” section with a little pointer and range. Facebook will give you an idea if your audience is too broad or too specific. This is a handy tool for making sure the research site is making the most of their investment. Additionally, at the bottom of this section, sites can see the potential reach for your Facebook ad. It’s important to note that if an audience is too specific or too broad, Facebook won’t allow a site to run the ad, but they can fiddle with the audience criteria to get within the green range.

Click here to download the webinar with Hannah and Matt, and if you are interested in joining us for the Clinical Conductor webinar series, sign up today!